If you file a timely appeal to the Appeal Tribunal, DEW will send you a Notice of Hearing with the name of the administrative hearing office, time, date, and location of the hearing, and basic information about how the hearing is conducted. Notices are often sent to the parties with less than two weeks of notice, so it is best not to wait for receipt of the notice of the hearing to prepare.
Getting a Copy of the Claims File
One of the most important steps in preparing for the hearing is obtaining a copy of the claims file. The claims file has the information from the fact-finding process, including statements you made when you applied for benefits and the employer's response, as well as any documents the parties submitted as part of that process. You have a right to request these records, as well as any documents that the employer wants to submit into evidence. You can make the request by faxing a letter to Lower Authority Appeals at (803) 737-0287.
Subpoenaing Witnesses and Documents
If there are important witnesses or documents that you do not have access to, you can request that DEW order that they be made available at the hearing. This is known as a subpeona. You must request the issuance of a subpoena in writing. The Department provides Form APP-107, Application for Issuance of Witness Subpoena, for this request. Follow the instructions on the form to request the subpoena of witnesses or documents.
A request for a subpoena must be made quickly to make sure there is enough time for it be prepared to and served. Follow the instructions on the form to make the request. DEW will only subpoena witnesses or documetns it believes are necessary, so it is imporant to explain the importance of the witness to the case. DEW will not issue a subpoena out of state. Also, DEW may not let the you know before the hearing if your request for a subpoena was denied, so it is important to follow up to determine whether it was issued.
Forcing someone to participate in a hearing against their will is often not helpful to the case. Only subpoena a witness or document if you know it will help your case.
It is very helpful to be represented by an attorney in an unemployment benefits appeal. If you cannot afford an attorney, South Carolina Legal Services may be able to assist you. You can apply for legal help by calling (888) 346-5592 or online by visiting https://www.lawhelp.org/sc/online-intake.